Middle School

Our combination of dynamic experiential learning and real-world collaboration is strengthened by our Quaker pedagogy, which allows each student to uncover their passions while preparing them for a successful career in Upper School.
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"Our Middle School students develop autonomy and self-advocacy, forge their identities, and learn to value others’ perspectives while simultaneously engaging in a challenging curriculum and real-world experiences."

– Christine Saunders, Middle School Principal

Welcome to
Middle School (Grades 5-8)

Our Middle School program emphasizes the importance of outstanding scholarship across the fields of reading, listening, writing, and speaking.

We teach students to consider not just the right answer, but multiple solutions through our Inquiry-Based model of expansive and comprehensive essential questions. This type of analytical thinking deepens students' ability to discern different perspectives and pathways in order to solve real-world problems.

By the end of their Middle School career, our students are confident public presenters, prolific writers, critical readers, and empathetic listeners. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are interwoven into middle school programming, not making it a topic of conversation but a foundational element of each school day.

With solutions at their fingertips, students are encouraged to take what they learn in the classroom and consider how they can positively impact their world. Our Quaker values strengthen students' collaboration, inclusion, and experiential learning at each grade level. 

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Our Friends Academy Difference

Each student has the opportunity to shine in academically excellent and joyful ways – through studies in genetics and biodiversity to entrepreneurial studies to world language immersion and more.  Our personalized team approach to student life is fundamental to ensuring that each student grows into an innovative and inclusive learner.

 

Student Advising

Fostering students' emerging independence 

Our Middle School educators are experts in pre-adolescent development. In Advisory, students learn how to exchange ideas and pose questions in a supportive small-group environment, led by a dedicated middle school faculty member.

Advisors facilitate communication among students, parents/caregivers and others in the school community. They provide guidance and personally follow each student's academic progress and social-emotional growth. Our Middle School uses programs such as Responsive Classroom and Yale RULER to develop critical skills of self-advocacy and interpersonal communication.

Academic Curriculum

Our Quaker Approach in Middle School

Asking questions is foundational to Quakerism. Our learning is inquiry-based, empowering students to think critically about real-world situations.

Quaker education focuses on process in addition to product, and mistakes are learning opportunities. 

Our focus on inquiry, collaboration, and discernment fosters careful analysis, innovative problem-solving, intellectual growth, and perseverance.

English

Our students become robust readers and writers over the course of their Middle School career. In our younger grades, students learn to annotate all they read, craft strong thesis statements, and organize five-paragraph essays. By eighth grade, students are well-versed in composing literary analyses, persuasive essays, and creative writings.

Our Middle School English program offers a purposeful balance of classical canon works, contemporary young adult literature, poetry, and memoirs. Often, literature is chosen to pair with our History department, as part of our commitment to cross-curricular connections.

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History

Research, analysis, and public speaking take center stage in the Middle School History program. Our students learn to source, discern, and filter evidence – imperative skills in their digital world. 

Whether exploring the foundations of ancient governments, learning how our own country was formed, or examining global events, students use inquiry to consider how human beings have made decisions over time, and how those decisions have historically shaped cultures and communities. 

Students learn to conduct meaningful research, analyze evidence, and construct and deliver evidence-based arguments. 

Discussions are guided by our Quaker norms of community, kindness, and respect – especially as we consider multiple, and sometimes conflicting, viewpoints throughout history.

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Mathematics

In our four-year Middle School Mathematics program, students progress quickly from deep application of math fundamentals, through Pre-Algebra, to multi-layered Algebraic problem-solving.

Middle School Mathematics continues to build upon the Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract approach from our lower school program. Students are taught to consider multiple solution pathways - moving well beyond the standard algorithm. “How else might we solve this problem?” is a question raised daily. Discerning which mathematical approach might be better in a given situation is part of our best practice, encouraging students to think both creatively and logically. 

Middle School students participate in challenge exercises in the classroom and beyond. Our students are regular participants in MathCounts, the Long Island Math Fair, Noetic Math Competition, Trinity Math Competition, and the AMC8 Math Exam. 

Science

How do oncologists use DNA research to inform cancer treatments? What do you need to know about physics to build the world’s tallest roller coaster? How – as a fifth grader – would you solve a simulated global water crisis? Our students apply their scientific knowledge to consider real-world issues and design solutions.   

Aligned with NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), the Middle School Science curriculum offers critical foundations in earth science, life science, chemistry, and physics through relevant, contemporary topics. 

Students learn to lead with inquiry, experiment with careful observation and data collection, and then analyze their findings to solve problems, and often pose entirely new questions and theories to then test anew.

 

World Language

In fifth grade, students begin their World Language study with a sampler rotation of French, Mandarin, and Spanish, spending approximately one trimester experiencing each language. 

In sixth grade, students choose to study one of those languages in depth for the remainder of their Middle School career.  By the time students complete eighth grade, they will have finished the equivalent of one full year of high school language study. Eighth-grade students all take a National Language Exam for their respective language. 

The Middle School World Language program focuses on oral proficiency and culture, with all classes conducted immersively in the target language. 

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Technology

Students participate in Technology classes each year in Middle School. Courses offer a wide array of content and skills. Younger students gain familiarity with our 1-to1 Chromebook program, website development, block coding, robotics, and cybersafety. In the older grades, students engage in engineering and programming, 3D printing, more advanced coding, and even app development. 

Our dedicated Middle School Makerspace houses a VEX IQ competition court, multiple 3D printers, and ample workspaces for our students to engage in innovative design processes. VEX IQ Robotics is a popular after-school competition program, open to all middle school students.

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Entrepreneurship

Based on the highly successful Entrepreneurial Studies program piloted in our Upper School, the Middle School will begin weaving the foundational concepts of entrepreneurialism – such as analytical thinking, innovation, and tackling real-world challenges – into the curriculum beginning in Fall 2021. Eighth-grade students will study Entrepreneurship for one academic quarter, during which they will engage in client interviews, design thinking, collaboration, and consultation with community non-profit organizations.

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The Arts

The Arts in Middle School is a rich and diverse environment where students not only develop new skills and knowledge, but begin to blend that knowledge with a greater understanding of both themselves and the world around them. Our integrated arts curriculum is designed to engage the cognitive, physical, and character development of our students through studies of music, dance, studio art, digital art, playwriting, and acting. 

Our curriculum culminates in a break from the traditional routine as the Middle School comes together as a week-long community celebration of the arts.  Students have the opportunity to choose between participating in the Middle School Play and engaging in a series of Art Workshops presented by guest artists and Friends Academy Faculty, offering each student a chance to follow their passion or discover one that is brand new.

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Physical Education & Athletics

Students in Grades 5 and 6 participate in an engaging and varied Physical Education, with a concentrated focus on individual wellness, skill development, strategy, and teamwork.

In seventh and eighth grade, students participate in quarterly competitive Athletics options. Students practice daily and compete in games against other local middle schools.  

In addition to developing physical skills, Athletics participation fosters values of cooperation, community, a strong work ethic, fair play, grace in victory and defeat, and respect for teammates, coaches, opponents, and officials.

Library

The Middle School library program emphasizes literacy and research skills.

Middle School learners have access to the Kumar Wang Library’s diverse range of digital and print resources. The library collection is constantly expanding and has a robust YA novel collection. For research, developmentally appropriate databases and online encyclopedias like Britannica, World Book, World History in Context, and many others are available for use. A complete list of Middle School digital resources can be found at the Upper School and Middle School Library LibGuide.

By the end of Middle School, students develop advanced research skills like breaking down research questions into keywords, applying intellectual property knowledge, citing sources, and evaluating information.

To foster reading, librarians host book clubs with students, provide reading suggestions, and partner together with teachers to select books that meet students’ needs and interests.

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Download the Full Middle School Course of Study

Beyond The Classroom

Student Care & Success

Friends Academy students have access to a team of dedicated and caring adults, peers, and mentors that are committed to their success through an intentional Student Experience. Our hands-on Advisory Program pairs each student with an advisor whom they have access to each day in small groups. Extra Help through office hours and individualized learning support are always available as needed.

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Extracurricular Experiences

Middle School students often elect to extend their classroom learning by participating in extra-curricular challenges:

  • AMC 8 – American Mathematics Contest 8
  • Long Island Math Fair
  • Long Island Science Fair
  • Mathcounts
  • Model Congress
  • Noetic Math
  • Trinity Math Competition
  • VEX Robotics

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Leadership Committees & Clubs

As part of their growth and leadership development, Friends Academy students have the opportunity to join a dynamic range of leadership committees:

  • HOPE Project 
  • Environmental Stewardship 
  • Middle School Inclusion 
  • Student Faculty/Board 
  • TASQUE (Teachers and Students for Quaker Understanding and Education)
  • W.A.T.C.H. (We Are The Community Helpers)

In addition, students can participate in a wide array of co-curricular clubs and opportunities. 

  • Admissions Ambassadors
  • Chess
  • Debate
  • Model Congress
  • Yearbook

Meeting for Worship

As a Quaker School, we consider Meeting for Worship the “Most important meeting of the week.” When students spend time together in quiet reflection, they have the space and time necessary to think about their impact on the world. Students develop lifelong skills, such as empathy, active listening, critical thinking, public speaking, and the ability to use silence as a powerful tool for discernment. 

Facilitated by Student/Faculty TASQUE (Teachers and Students for Quaker Understanding and  Education), the Friends Academy community comes together weekly during Meeting for Worship as each person discovers how to pay attention to their inner voice, and, at times, absorb each other's poignant and powerful messages about life and learning.

Building on this foundational respect and knowledge, we also create space for reflection in other parts of our community. Meeting for Business teaches students the importance of pause and silence when making important group decisions. Meeting for Celebration brings our community together for special occasions in a thoughtful and intentional way, creating the time and space to appreciate the memories we are in the process of creating.

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Service Learning

When students commit to supporting organizations of purpose and demonstrate those commitments by performing ongoing service, they enjoy meaningful experiences with different communities and understand the importance of civic participation. 

Friends Academy Service Learning Program maintains partnerships with important organizations like Glen Cove Men's Shelter, Interreligious and Human Needs Council, and the Glen Cove Boys’ and Girls’ Club. Through these partnerships, Upper School students have the opportunity to understand the impacts certain systems have had on the wellbeing of their neighbors.

As part of our Service Learning Program, students also have an opportunity to join the Student WATCH (We are the Community Helpers) committee. WATCH exists to educate the Friends Academy community about local service learning opportunities. By giving time and energy to others, the club empowers its members to recognize the reciprocal nature of service.

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